Profits at value general merchant giant The Range fell last year after the weakness of sterling hit performance.

The Range’s earnings were down 22% to £42.6m last year, The Sunday Times reported. However, sales rose 14% to £869m.

Founder Chris Dawson paid himself a £14m dividend last year, which was £86m lower than in the previous year.

The entrepreneur had been considering an IPO of the retailer, which it was thought could have valued it at as much as £2bn.

Dawson, who built The Range up himself, drafted in former House of Fraser chief executive Nigel Oddy to run the business last year, fuelling speculation about a float.

However, Dawson told The Sunday Telegraph that the float will not proceed at the moment in a “crap” market and as The Range beds in a deal with grocer Iceland to sell the frozen-food specialist’s lines in its shops.

The link-up, revealed last month, involves Iceland store-in-stores in three of The Range’s shops, and they will be rolled out further if successful.

The food stores will be supplied by Iceland but staffed and operated by The Range.

The deal between The Range and Iceland came as value general merchandise retailers increasingly add food to their offers. Poundland has built up its food offer over recent years and last year B&M bought Heron Foods.